Wednesday 31 August 2022

More BEF

These are finished some apart from decals and some bits on the bases. A mix of 3D resin prints and PSC kits. I may add a couple of A13s but I better do some opposition and the BEF infantry and associated stuff.

Three Morris armoured card of the 12th Lancers. These are all from Early War Miniatures.

3 Royal Tank Regiment with a mixture of Vickers MkVI and A9s and A10s. Some are 3D prints and some are from PSC.

Monday 29 August 2022



Ok, so after after an aversion to internal combustion engines that goes back to my early teens regarding WW2 gaming readers of this blog will know that I began a project to create the forces for the 1939 Winter War. Armed with a temperamental 3D printer I built up a pair of nice armies. I was then moved to look elsewhere for another project and plumped for the Fall of France. Before my printer went off on in protest once again I managed to get it to print a bunch of Matilda I tanks for the British and a selection of soft skins.

So, apart from decals and the bases I have the 1st Army Tank Brigade, equipped with Matilda I and II infantry tanks.

4 Royal Tank Regiment 

7 Royal Tank Regiment 

I might add another Vickers MkVI as Brigade HQ as I think I have a spare one somewhere in the box. Both battalions were seriously under strength before their moment arrived at the Battle of Arras, largely due to mechanical failures and other breakdowns.

Anyway,  I guess I should work on finishing these and move on quickly to the other units I’m planning for, ie 6 and 8 Durham Light Infantry and the 4 Northumberland Fusiliers, the latter on their motor cycle combinations. Plus supporting field and anti-tank artillery of course.

Monday 22 August 2022

Wargaming Peaky Blinders…….I am not!

While role playing Tommy Shelby might be fun in as a skirmish game I do not wish to go there. I have enough options with my newly constructed canal and now I have three new barges to add to the one I completed the other day, albeit one of them has sunk. Great models.

This afternoon I put this MDF bridge together. Bit of paint and it’ll ready to go, and the bridge even goes up and down, sometimes even on command!

Sunday 21 August 2022

A long piece of new terrain

No games planned until next weekend if anyone is available so in the lull I've been focussing on finishing some terrain pieces. 

For some reason lost in the mists of time I acquired several feet of canals. Well actually 14 feet, enough to run the length of my table! This weekend I have actually finished all the sections and here they are, complete with a narrow boat. (Definitely not a twee holiday barge but a grotty working one).

If I remember correctly, and as seems most likely, they were purchased for a game set during the War of the 1st Coalition in Flanders in 1794-1795. Thanks to my recent departure into the world of internal combustion engines, tanks and early WW2 stuff I can now also use them in some 1940 Fall of France scenarios. 

The sections are made of resin and were very quick to paint. I'm happy with them. I’ve got a couple of pairs of lock gates to finish together with two more narrow boats but they are on today’s list of things to do.

Saturday 13 August 2022

Heat Stops Play

 I was planning on having a game today but while setting it all up yesterday I realised that my games room was going to be unbearable, as even with the skylights and French door open the temperature peaked at its over 30C yesterday and 29.5C earlier today at midday. I was dripping with sweat after less than an hour of setting up and it was not nice. Now I love the sun and heat for my aching bones but I’m no proponent of wargaming in a sauna. It’s now 28C so positively cool by comparison, and compared to other parts of the UK and Europe it’s almost chilly! 

So, I have some terrain that needs painting and lots of figures to be prepped and primed so I should get them done in the garden.

Hopefully can get a game in next weekend.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

The Deluge of wonderful books from Helion continues with Charles X Wars Volume 2

Charles X’s Wars, Volume 2 - The Wars in the East, 1655-1657 by Helion regular Michael Fredholm von Essen is another gem in the fabulously eclectic ‘Century of the Soldier 1618-1721’ series. As one would expect this book picks up where volume 1 left off, focussing on the ‘Swedish Deluge’, covering the devastating and somewhat complicated wars in the east between 1655 and 1657. The author begins with the Swedish-Commonwealth war but also describes in detail the simultaneous wars between the Commonwealth and Muscovy between 1654 and 1667, and Sweden and Muscovy from 1651 to 1661. While all this was going on the Ukrainian Cossacks were fighting against the oppressive behaviour of the Commonwealth.

The author presents us with the results of new research on the war rarely described in English. Describing the continued development of the post Thirty Years’ War Swedish army, he also includes comprehensive details of the diverse military of all the other combatants, i.e. the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s, Brandenburg-Prussia, Muscovy, the Cossack Ukraine, Transylvania, the Crimean Tatars and the soldiers of the Holy Roman Empire.

The book is beautifully illustrated with five pages of specially commissioned colour plates, depicting the flags in use by the belligerents. There are also a vast number of contemporary black and white illustrations, photographs of surviving fortifications and clothing and equipment held in museums, and some really useful and detailed maps, including several of some of the key battles fought during the conflict.

Indeed, the battle maps and orders of battle presented in the book are a tremendous asset to military historians and wargamers alike, and the list of units involved on all sides at the massive three-day battle of Warsaw is fascinating, as is the narrative describing the battle. In fact the whole book is like this, covering as it does the vast area covered and the many belligerents involved, and it worth remembering that the scope of these wars was so vast that it simply is not feasible to only cover the Swedish-Commonwealth war to the exclusion of the other contemporaneous conflicts. My favourite chapters are those covering the Muscovite invasion of Finland and Swedish territory along the Baltic coast and the involvement of the Transylvanians ( much assisted by Helion’s earlier works on the Muscovite and Transylvanian armies of this era where we have a helpful overlap).

If you have volume 1 of this series then you are already equipped with a wealth of information about the troops and armies involved and this volume applies what has been described in the earlier volume within the context of the war (or wars). I for one am looking forward to the final volume of this series which covers the Danish Wars and the conclusion the wars in the east. 

Another tremendous addition to Helion’s rapidly growing catalogue of what was once full of books on rather niche topics that have now evolved into something much more mainstream.

Paperback, ISBN978-1-915070-30-2, 220 pages

Friday 5 August 2022

Charles XII's Karoliners Vol. 1 Swedish Infantry and Artillery of the Great Northern War 1700-1721

If I was to launch a ‘series special’ then this new book from Helion would, based on reading it, be the one I’d chose. No doubt about it, but Charles XII’s Karoliners, Volume 1: The Swedish Infantry & Artillery of the Great Northern War 1700-1721 by Sergey Shamenkov is one hell of a way to introduce a ‘series special’, with all the accompanying bells and whistles. Before I get going I will say that you must not think, ‘oh, not another book on the Great Northern War’, because while the other books (of which I own many) on the subject are great and all fit for purpose, this particular book is at least one step up the ladder in terms of what it seeks to do, i.e. to give us a forensic exploration of the subject matter. 

I’m going to start with the pictures for a change, as this book contains a large number (61!) of glorious and characterful full colour original pieces (painted by the author no less) depicting a wide range of uniforms worn throughout the conflict by Swedish infantry; officers, grenadiers, guards, line musketeers, pikemen, artillerymen, and not just confined to native Swedish units but also those from Finland and the Baltic lands of Livonia and Estonia. There are also a large number of colour photographs of surviving uniforms and equipment (some of the latter being the result of recent battlefield exploration) to supplement the colour paintings, as well as a good number of contemporary colour and black and white images. There is no doubt in my mind that this is quite easily the best illustrated book I’ve seen from Helion in not only the ‘Century of the Soldier’ series but quite probably the other main series and from other publishers as well. Ever.

The book describes and discusses the formations, tactics, weapons and accoutrements of Charles XII’s infantry, together with the uniforms of the infantrymen, be they guardsman, grenadier, musketeer or pikeman. The different hat and coat styles worn, and every element of the soldiers ’ dress are covered in some detail. Officers’ uniforms and associated paraphernalia and weaponry are given separate chapters to the rank and file. Finally there are separate chapters covering the uniforms of Charles’ artillerymen and those of their officers.

The source material is comprehensive and includes information gained from previously unpublished or little known documents, and the book is well written, highly informative and an asset to anyone interested in the army of Charles XII, be they historians, artists, reenactors or gamers/collectors of historical figures to name but a few. Roll on Volume 2 is all I can say.

Paperback, 152 pages, ISBN 9781804510056

Gettysburg in 54mm

These posts are getting later and later but what to do? Anyway……..

Last Saturday I was at the club in Durham for a massive refight of day two of Gettysburg in 54mm, organised by Conrad, Mike, Tim and his mate (who wrote the rules we used - 'Funny Little Wars'). It was a pretty large undertaking but whatever magic was woven to make it all come together worked, so come 10:00 a.m. on Saturday the table had been laid out and the troops deployed. I think the table was 24' x 12' with a gap in the 12' side so we could reach the troops. The figures were mainly Conrad's with some help from the other organisers and fellow club members. I think there were more than a dozen of us playing. Being a staunch Federal I took the role of General p Hancock and II Corps (in the photo above lining the ridge). Right up front and in the thick of it for the entire game facing a sea of grey and butternut, zillions of them, crammed together as they surged forward; a real butternut squash! I can't begin to try and explain what was happening elsewhere on the battlefield so what follows are some random pictures to give you an idea of how things developed.

The photo above shows the Federal line along cemetery ridge, with the Round Tops several feet to the right out of shot. The second table beyond has the rest of the Federal line angled back to face the attempted envelopment by the Confederates.

Artillery fire was carried out using old (some very old) matchstick-firing models which was a skill you either mastered quickly or not at all. It was fun and not too many eyes were endangered. For canister fire we used party poppers, which was a real hoot.
Rebs lining up     

General Hancock
The devastating effects of canister fire

Thee Confederate forces destroyed Sickles’ command under Conrad but as Sickles had already been KIA by an errant matchstick he didn’t mind I guess. Hancock held on and the Rebs were unable to drive his men off the ridge. The Reb flanking attack also stalled although losses were horrendously high on both sides. Federal reinforcements were arriving all the time so we were not too fussed, well I wasn’t anyway. By late afternoon we’d treached 9pm game time so we stopped. It imho was a clear Federal victory. Rebel claims that they were victorious were baseless and ignored their staggering losses and the two corps of unengaged Federal reinforcements. Strategic sense would have dictated a withdrawal under cover of night by the Rebs. So say I.

Overall it was a very good game, enjoyable, and much fun, although it was a bit untidy for my taste, and no doubt we shall have another 54mm extravaganza next year. The armies were  tremendous especially Conrad’s artillery gun teams which can be seen racing into action in one of these photos.

Monday 1 August 2022

Encounter in Northern Italy 1795, using Soldiers of Napoleon

This post is appallingly late but much activity surrounding the Burrow last week that got in the way of hobby time. This game actually had a young General Buonaparte in command of the French army in this fictional encounter set in the ‘imagination’ Republic of Waldensia, up in the Italian Alps, landlocked between France, Piedmont and Switzerland, all of which is irrelevant to this game and geographically somewhat far fetched, but I’ve had armies fighting over this part of Italy from the Italian Wars onwards so like to maintain the back story if only for my own amusement.

It was a straightforward encounter battle with beating the enemy being the only victory condition, although I suppose NOT loosing would be another equally-ranked objective. The rules generate Victory Points for one side or another, usually for gaining some minor goal or killing an enemy unit, as  game unfolds which is quite a nice touch.

Conrad was the child Napoleon, supported by John and Shaun. I played GL Melas the Austrian CinC, with Dave and Paul as my subordinates. Both armies were of roughly similar in size, but the Austrians had  a slight advantage in numbers and to a certain extent troop quality. Except for the Piedmontese division, which I mainly classed as militia, if only as this was to be their first appearance on my tabletop. The terrain was deliberately quite congested, to try and reflect the Italian practice of surrounding fields with ditches and said ditches and other streams were thick with vegetation, slowing movement and impeding visibility. It looked quite nice anyway. 

The French deployed all their infantry on the battlefield and left both brigades of cavalry off table as the designated reserve. Conrad commanded the Polish brigade as well as being CinC. Shaun was in the centre with two brigades of French infantry and John was on their right with another French brigade and the gorgeous chocolate-box uniformed Lombard Legion. We held the Piedmontese division in reserve, due to join the game from turn 3 on our right, which was held initially by a single cavalry brigade, with two Austrian infantry brigades in the centre and another on the left, supported by two regiments of hussars.


Initiative went to the French to start with (and for most turns in fact). The cards were dealt and the CinCs issued them to their subordinates as they saw fit. I like this aspect of the rules as it forces the commanders to make some important decisions under pressure as they attempt to organise their battle plan using whatever cards they’d been dealt.  Their army began a general advance to try and capture the town, the monastery and the high ground in the centre. The Austrians, being experts at lumbering, lumbered forward slowly but smartly. I will let the pictures tell the story of the battle, so buckle in, tray tables put away and seats upright and we shall begin.

The Austrian right was lightly held by a brigade of cavalry.
The French left safely anchored behind the stream.
The Piedmontese cavalry brigade appeared on the Austrian right.
The Lombard Legion moving against the monastery.  They were to eject the Austrians from the building and take over occupancy.
Austrian right.
The Piedmontese arrive. 

Dave's left wing making slow progress thanks to the difficult terrain.
More of the Piedmontese. They’re relatively new. The  infantry, artillery and  cavalry are Eureka and Irregular miniatures.
The Poles advanced quickly and took possession of the town.
Poles occupying the village until it became too dangerous due to fire from enemy artillery and riflemen.
French horse artillery advance in the centre.
Poles on the French left. They had withdrawn from the town as they were attracting too much attention from Austrian and Piedmontese artillery and Austrian jäger.
John's French brigade on the French right.

An heroic pose from the Young Napoleon.

The centre of the battlefield where my troops were making little progress against the French.

Piedmontese on the move.
Piedmontese cavalry regiment.
The Austrian right seen from the French perspective towards the end of the battle. The Piedmontese  are advancing on the Poles formed into square behind the stream. 

We had been playing pretty solidly for about four hours (plus lunch) and called it a day. The Austrians had made no real progress with their attack and as French had acquired many more VPs than the Austrians they were declared the clear victors. I think we've got the hang of the rule mechanics now, and I for one am happy with the way the game developed. We all played the period rather than the rules which certainly helped. (Then again, the penalties for playing the rules and not the period here at the Burrow can be severe). 

For those interested here are the OoB for the game.


Division: General de Division Lannes (8)

Gen de Bde Watrin(5)

Demi Bde Legere [3] Seasoned, D3+, Musket 4+, Melee 4+ (Skirmishers 2) (1MV)

Horse Artillery (4-pdr) Professional, D3, Shot D5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

Gen de Bde Gency(3)

Demi Bde [3] Seasoned, D4+, Musket 4+, Melee 4+ (Skirmish 2) (1MV)

Gen de Division Gardanne (10)

Gen de Bde Mouton (7)

Grenadiers [1] Elite, D3+, Musket 3+, Melee 3+ (Skirmish 2) (2MV)

Demi Bde [3] Trained, D4+, Musket 4+, Melee 4+ (Skirmish 2) (1MV)

Artillery (12pdr) Seasoned, D3+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

General de Bde Mazzini (3)

Lombard Legion [2] Trained, D4+, Musket 4+, Melee 4+ (Skirmish 2) (1MV)

Artillery (6-pdr) Trained, D4+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (1MV)

Gen de Div Thomas Jennings de Kilmain (10)

Gen de Bde Champeaux (6)

Hussars Trained, D5+, Shot 5+, Melee 4+ (2MV ea)

Ch a Cheval Trained, D5+, Shot 5+, Melee 4+ (2MV)

Horse Arty (6-pdr) Professional, D3, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

Gen de Bde Kellerman (4)

Dragoons x2 Trained, D4+, Melee 4+, (Shock 2) (2MV ea)

Gen de Division Dombrowski (10)

Polish Legion x 3 Elite, D3+, Shot 4+, Melee 4+ (2 MV ea)

Legion Cavalry Seasoned, D4+, Melee 4+ (Shock 1 lance) (2 MV)

Artillery (6-pdr) Seasoned, D4+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)


GM Prince Hohenlohe (6)

Hussars x 2 Professional, D3+, Carbine 5+, Melee 3+ (2MV)

Horse artillery (6pdr) Professional, D3, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

GM Wallace (6)

Ch-Legere Professional, D3+, Shot 5+, Melee 3+ (2MV)

Dragoons HC Seasoned, D4+, Carbine 5+, Melee 3+ (Shock 2) (2 MV)

Uhlans Trained, D4+, Melee 2+/3+ (Shock 1) (2MV)

GM Kossuth (6)

Grenz Militia, D5+, Shot 4+, Melee 5+ (Lt Inf/Skirmisher 2) (1MV)

Line btns x 3 Trained, D4+, Shot 4+, Melee 4+ (1MV)

Artillery (3pdr) Professional, D4+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

GM Jordis (7)

Feldjager detachment Seasoned, D3+, Rifle 3+, Melee 5+ (Lt Infantry/Skirmish 3) (2MV)

Line x 3 btns Trained, D4+, Shot 4+, Melee 4+ (1MV)

Artillery (6-pdr) Professional, D3+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

GM Kavenagh (12)

Feldjager detachment Seasoned, D3+, Rifle 3+, Melee 5+ (Lt Infantry/Skirmish 3) (2MV)

Grenadier btns x 4 Seasoned, D3+, Shot 4+, Melee 3+ (2MV)

Foot Artillery (12-pdr) Professional, D3+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

General Conti – Piedmontese (8MV)

Grenadiers Elite, D3+, Musket 3+, Melee 4+ (2MV)

Infantry x 4 btns Militia, D5+, Shot 4+, Melee 5+ (1MV)

Artillery (6pdr) Trained, D5+, Shot 5+, Melee 5+ (2MV)

General Gelato – Piedmontese (4MV)

Cavalry HC Trained, D4+, Melee 4+ (Shock 2) (2MV)

Dragoons HC Trained, D5+, Melee 4+ (Shock 1) (2MV)

CinC to allocate brigades to the ‘divisional’ commanders, also deciding which brigade(s) will form the reserve. Piedmonte bdes must be brigaded together.

Austrian cavalry bdes CANNOT be brigaded together.